Colleges are granted accreditation when they meet or surpass the standards of educational quality set by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Each institution seeking to obtain or renew ACCJC accreditation has the obligation to undergo a cycle of periodic evaluation through self study and professional peer review. The heart of this obligation is conducting a rigorous self study during which a college appraises itself against the Commission's standards in terms of its stated institutional purposes.
Accreditation is critical because it certifies to the public, students and our employees that WCC is fulfilling its mission and goals to maintain the best practices in higher education, recognized at local, state and national levels. It certifies that WCC has:
- Appropriate purposes
- Resources to accomplish its purposes
- Evidence to support its stated accomplishments
- Given assurance that it will continue to accomplish its purposes
During the process of accreditation WCC will conduct a Comprehensive Self Study every six years following initial accreditation and a visit by a team of peers. The cycle includes a mandatory midterm report in the third year as well as any other reports requested by the Commission. All reports beyond the Comprehensive Self Study may be followed by a visit by Commission representatives.
Teams comprised of faculty, staff, administrators and students ask questions such as:
- Are students learning?
- How do we know students are learning?
- Are we doing what we say we are doing?
- How well are we doing it?
- What evidence supports our claims?
With honesty, energy and commitment from all the self-study teams, we collect information on the changes that have occurred on our campus, document how well we have met our goals, determine where we need to improve, and prepare ourselves for the future.
The self-study is just one of the elements for accreditation. WCC will also publish an official report on this self-evaluation, hosts onsite visits from a commission evaluation team, and receives recommendations for action.